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SubjectRe: Linus Speaks About KDE-Bashing
At 04:47 PM 7/12/98 +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
>They are using it to prevent a free software project becoming dependant
>on a non free product that they can't modify and isnt free. Their
>argument is precisely identical to the case where I produce a binary
>only module the kernel depends on for functionality - say the networking
>and say "its ok, its not being charged for - look at KDE you said that
>was ok".

[NOTE: many of the messages in this thread are sent to several individuals
and three mailing lists. I've been deleting the individuals, except
sometimes for the person I'm directly responding to, and leaving all the
lists. Is this the appropriate thing to do, or should I be sending to
everyone the original was sent to?]

1. So what happens if I try to GPL a program I write for Windows NT? I end
up with a free software project dependent on a non-free product that you
can't modify and is not free. The GPL allows this, under the "major
components of the OS" exception, so there is no doubt that I can *legally*
do this. Are you saying it is *morally* wrong for me to do so, and the free
software community should reject my program and get upset if I use other
people's free software in my free project for NT? If not, how is KDE
different? My project is free GPL'ed software that runs on any system that
has the proprietary non-free Windows NT installed, and KDE is free GPL'ed
software that runs on any system that has the proprietary non-free Qt
library installed. (Remember, I'm asking about a moral difference, not a
legal difference, so let's not get into the issue of shared linking vs.
static linking, and things like that).
2. As far as I've been able to tell, I can legally make binary-only kernel
modules and distribute them. It would annoy Linus, and so if I end up using
Linux in the embedded system I might be working on someday at work, I'll
make sure all my proprietary changes are in an application, not a kernel
module, but as far as I can tell from reading the licenses and taking
copyright and contract law classes in law school, and talking to lawyers
and law school professors, I'm doing it this way because I am a nice guy
who doesn't want to piss off Linus. :-)

--Tim Smith


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